An introduction to DISC
Hello and welcome to this first of a series of blogs to explore the exciting and powerful world of DISC profiling.
Over the coming months I would like to share with you how you can use DISC profiling to increase and improve your own abilities, increase your communication effectiveness with others, improve on your sales performance, manage your employees successfully, even take your personal relationships to a whole new level! Sceptical? Then read on and discover how you have the ability to transform your communication skills by using DISC profiling.
Still reading? Great, then I have your attention, well, brace yourself, because the first thing to recognise is; you already know the basics of DISC! How many times have you found yourself changing the way you speak with different people? Imagine a group of your work colleagues or perhaps your circle of friends and you want to ask them for donations to a charity run you are about to partake in. For one person you will go for the heart strings and perhaps show a powerful image, another person you will explain how the money is going to be used, or perhaps you will explain you have a target figure and explain that you need to get x number of donations of a specific amount of money and use a logical approach. By doing this you are in fact using DISC profiling and tailoring your message. So where did it all start?
DISC profiling has been around since the early 1900’s and was created by a psychiatrist called Dr William Marston. The fascinating thing is that his ideas around four different personality types are just as relevant today as they were back in 1928. A random fact about Dr Marston is he also went on to create the super hero Wonder Woman – who am I to comment on which had the bigger impact on society! It is, though, DISC that I would like to focus on.
The basis of DISC is that there are four different behavioural types that each of us fall into. To help understand these four types let’s explore an everyday situation. Imagine yourself standing at a lift waiting for the lift to arrive. You have already pressed the button and a then another person promptly comes along and starts to press the call button several times. This is because clearly the fact that they have now demanded the lift it will now arrive more quickly. You can see the impatience in their face and they are thinking “come on, come on, I’ve got things to do”. This is our first DISC profile – the Dominant.
Once the lift arrives a few other people get in with you and then the lift doors close. Once the doors have sealed everybody in somebody then starts to want to talk to everybody, commenting on how the traffic was this morning and then once the lift doors open they will probably like to crack a joke, such as “third floor – menswear and gardening!” This is our second DISC profile – the Influencer.
Our third profile will be a quieter person in the lift and they will be watching other people and then they spring into action when they see that as the lift doors start to close somebody is approaching the lift to get in – they will put their hand out and hold the doors open and invite the other person into the lift. They are likely to say “come on in- there’s plenty of room”. Also as the lift fills up they may even let people into the lift to the point where they will give up their space and take the stairs instead – welcome to the world of the Steady profile.
Our final profile will, again, be a quieter person although they will be thinking about something far more serious and this is the amount of people that are getting into the lift. They will have seen the information plate explaining what the maximum weight that the lift can take is and then they will be calculating everybody’s weight. They will have also noticed when the lift is due its next inspection and so long as it’s not overdue they will stay in the lift! This is our fourth and final profile the Conscientious profile.
The idea that we fall into four different personality types has been explored in many different ways and there are other variations on this theme available in the business world, some use ‘labels’ whilst others may use colours. For the purposes of this blog I’m going to stick with Dominant (D), Influencer (I), Steady (S) and Conscientious (C).
It is worth stating that whilst some people are clearly strong and obvious examples of each individual profile (more of this next time), within us we are likely to have traits of a couple of the other profiles too. It is worth stressing that it is accepted that we cannot be naturally strong in all 4 personality profiles, we can, however, develop the traits through training, coaching and self-awareness.
Whilst DISC profiling was initially designed to understand why different people act in different ways we can take this way beyond purely our own internal behaviours. If we start to understand others DISC profiles then we can start to increase the impact we have on those around us. Over a series of 12 blogs we will be looking at key subjects around DISC including; Increasing the effectiveness of communicating, using DISC to motivate, increasing sales through DISC characteristics, managing people using DISC profiling, goal setting using our own DISC profile, speed reading other people’s DISC profile, even using DISC profiling at home to improve family relationships!
Of course, if you are reading this and are thinking “OK where is the proof that DISC profiling works?” then firstly “Hello ‘D’ profile” and secondly as part of my role at MarketMakers I support and coach our own sales team and back in 2013 I started working with them on speed reading DISC profiles and how to adapt their ‘sales pitch’. 1 year later, with exactly the same team, the sales had increased by 44%! Incredibly one year further on looking at the same peoples sales figures we had increased sales by another 30%. The product had not changed, the geographical areas had not changed and nor had the people it was simply by understanding their own DISC profile and tailoring their meetings to the other person’s DISC profile.
In a future blog I will share with you a more detailed approach around how a coaching and training package can be created to help deliver increased results – so keep reading the blogs!
Finally, I would like to share with you how we see DISC profiles in real life every day. Only last night I was in my local and I was watching four guys on another table, clearly I need to get more friends of my own! One of the guys suddenly announced “Right, who’s getting the round in?” another one replied “Oh, I think it might be me”, a third one announced “well make mine a big one – wey-heh!” and the final one started looking at the drinks menu to work out the prices. These four guys each represented their own DISC profile – if you are not sure which one is which then join me in my next blog where we will delve deeper into the specific characteristics of each profile and understand how we often give our profile away within seconds of meeting people!